Society has turned Christmas into an opportunity to get more stuff. No longer is Christmas about families getting together. The only thing we look forward to is the presents. It’s time to switch to a more meaningful and eco-friendly Christmas.
Companies have turned it into a consumerist holiday which is extremely bad for the environment. The amount of waste we produce this time of year is staggering. Wrapping paper, useless gifts, decorations and we can’t forget about the food. Food waste shoots up every year during the festive holidays.
At Christmas, everyone wants more of everything. And it is destroying the planet.
So what is the solution? How can you have a good time at Christmas without feeling guilty? Here are 30 eco-friendly Christmas tips we made just for you. (Keep reading to find a downloadable poster with all these tips on)
01. FSC certified local tree
Don’t get a plastic tree. When given the option, always choose a proper, natural tree. We don’t need to produce any more plastic. The world has enough of it.
02. And recycle it after
And remember to recycle it afterward. Check your local area for the nearest drop-off point. There is usually an area where Christmas trees are collected, chipped, and composted.
(Note that plastic trees cannot be recycled since they are made of a mixture of materials)
03. Rent a Christmas tree
Did you know you can rent Christmas trees? I didn’t until recently. What another creative way to help the environment. Check your local area to see if anyone provides this kind of service. You then just take it back when you are done with it.
04. Already have a tree?
If that’s the case, don’t throw it out, to get a more eco-friendly option. Now that you have a plastic tree, you may as well keep using it for as long as you can.
05. LED lighting
If you want to decorate your house and your tree with lights, switch to LED lighting which is more efficient and therefore better for the environment.
06. Turns the lights off
Before you go to bed or leave the house, turn the lights off. Don’t waste electricity for no reason. When I say lights, I am referring to the fairy lights you use to decorate your house too. You don’t need to have them turned on all the time.
07. Make your own decorations
Why go to the store to buy cheap, low-quality decorations when you could be creative and make your very own decorations for your home.
Try using scrap paper to make fancy shapes, use tree branches, and hang dried fruit like orange slices and cranberries. Hang them up above your window or anywhere you like for that matter. Also, get some candles and place them in glass jars to make your home even more festive.
If you are up for it, you could challenge yourself to have an eco-friendly no-plastic Christmas. Wouldn’t it be a nice way to enter the new year?
Related: Feeling stuck? 17 ways to be more creative
08. Don’t buy useless presents
You know what I’m talking about. Those gifts you buy people just so you have something to give them. This time, ask the other person what they would like so you can get something they actually want and would use all the time. Don’t waste your money and resources on something that will end up in the bin a few days later.
09. Make your own presents
Instead of browsing through Amazon to find a gift, you could make something yourself. Show how much you care about someone with your time, not your money.
Bake cookies, write a song, make a painting, create a video, or sew something. The possibilities are endless. Use your talent and put a smile on someone’s face.
10. Buy gifts that last
Don’t go buying people single-use plastic gifts or something that can only be used a few times. You may need to spend a bit more money but it will be worth it if they will use it for many years.
11. Gift experiences
Another way to make Christmas more eco-friendly is by not actually getting material gifts at all. You could go a step further and give them an experience as a gift. What I mean by this, is you could take them for dinner, take them to a concert or do another fun activity they would love. While most gifts are often forgotten, experiences will forever be remembered.
12. Sustainable gifts
Take the opportunity to make someone’s life more sustainable by giving them an eco gift like a nice reusable bottle for example. Here’s your chance to make someone fall in love with sustainability. Get them started on their journey. Inspire your friends to be more eco-friendly. Some popular present ideas include sustainable body products, products that help people reduce plastic consumption and sustainable clothing.
13. Shop from sustainable stores
If you are buying clothes for someone, don’t shop at the cheap fast-fashion stores. Look for sustainable clothing brands that support slow fashion. You will find plenty online. These make their clothes with the planet in mind.
It doesn’t just apply to clothes. It’s for everything. Opt for high-quality sustainable and ethical products to give to your loved ones.
14. Eco wrapping paper
Did you know you could buy eco-friendly wrapping paper? This is often made from recycled paper. However, that’s not the only option. You can wrap all your gifts in textile materials and reuse them every year. It’s better for the planet and your wallet.
To top it off, wrap it with a string or ribbon rather than that glossy-looking decoration that cannot be reused or recycled.
15. Give money to charity
If you really don’t want or need anything but someone is really insisting on buying you something, here’s the solution. Tell them to donate to a charity or adopt an animal for you.
16. DIY cards
If you really want to give someone a Christmas card, make one instead of buying one (Remember not to use glitter because it is extremely bad for the environment). The cards you buy from the stores often can’t be recycled because plastic elements are added to the front of them.
Pro-tip – You can cut up old cards and use them as gift tags the year after.
17. Digital cards
If you don’t want to make one, you could always send a digital card. You can design it yourself or find a pre-made one. Don’t overcomplicate it. An eco-friendly Christmas doesn’t have to be hard.
Also read: The benefits of simple living on you and the environment
18. Buy less
First and foremost, buy less. I cannot stress how important this is. Don’t just buy food for the sake of it. Get a realistic amount. The amount of food that gets wasted during the festive holidays is unthinkable.
19. Plant-based dinner
This might be a hard one because eating meat is a big tradition in some countries. But we need to adapt to the new circumstances. The world is not the same as it used to be. Either reduce the amount of meat you cook or simply do a vegetarian/ vegan alternative. A plant-based dinner is as just as delicious and it’s more sustainable. I would say this is one of the most important tips if you wish to have an eco-friendly Christmas.
20. Locally sourced meat and vegetables
If possible, choose fresh ingredients that were made in your own country. Avoid the ones with high air miles (aka that have been flown in from across the world). Doing this will reduce your carbon footprint which is something that you should always be trying to lower.
Choosing to do this is also a way to support your local community.
21. Zero waste dinner
Get all the ingredients without packaging (or at least as many as you can). Go to a local market and the butchers if you are going to eat meat. Try your hardest to avoid food that is wrapped in plastic. Going zero waste is not as scary or difficult as it sounds. It’s all about small changes.
22. Eat the leftovers
Eat the leftovers the next day to reduce your food waste. It will taste the same or it might taste even better. Don’t throw away good food if you could still eat it. It will also save you cooking again the next day. Too much perfectly good food gets thrown away without a reason every year.
23. Grow your own food
If you have a garden you could consider growing your own food. Some vegetables are really easy to grow. Don’t be intimidated by the idea. Learning how to do this is easy. It will take some practice at the beginning but you will get the hang of it quickly.
24. Choose organic
This goes from fruit and vegetables to meat and even to wine. Always be aware of what you are buying. It’s important to know where you are putting your money. Treat the planet and your body with respect. Choosing organic means that no pesticides were used and that crops are not genetically modified.
Any natural food that can’t be eaten can be composted right in your back yard. Do this to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. It’s very easy since there are countless videos and guides online you could have a look at.
If you are visiting friends or family take the train or some other form of public transport. In general, aim to cut down car journies. It’s yet another way to reduce your carbon footprint.
27. Eco-friendly crackers
While you might find Christmas crackers fun, they are not very environmentally friendly. They are made of single-use plastic and most of the time, you win a useless toy that ends up in the bin at the end of the day. You could make your own or buy a more eco-friendly one.
28. Lower the thermostat
Lowering the temperature by even 1 degree can make a big difference. So turn it down a bit and wear a cozy jumper. It’s not a big sacrifice.
29. Reusable advent calendars
If you are a person who loves advent calendars, I’ve got good news. You don’t have to give them up completely. You can get a reusable wooden one. Then fill it up with your own special treats. You could use it yourself, or do it with friends.
30. Your outfit
It’s tempting to go out shopping for a new, special outfit for Christmas and New Year’s but is it really necessary? You probably have plenty of nice clothes in your wardrobe. Don’t buy into fast fashion. The environmental impacts are too great. If you really need to buy something new, visit a thrift store. Not the high street.
An eco-friendly Christmas is definitely possible. You simply need to make a few changes and tap into your creative side. There are so many opportunities to be creative during Christmas time. Take advantage!
Bring back Christmas to what it should be. And when Christmas is gone, don’t forget to make an eco resolution for the new year to make your life more sustainable.